Georgia Tea Party condemns racist flyer in Alpharetta

The inflammatory flyer I found in my mailbox yesterday made the 11 o’clock news last night and there is still no confirmation that the material was distributed by anyone affiliated with the Tea Party movement or even those people opposed to the local zoning issue. As mentioned in my previous post, I smell a rat…, I find it far more likely that this material is part of a smear campaign directed at both of those groups.

The WXIA news report is here. Below is the most relevant section:

The flyer ostensibly tries to mobilize opposition to Amana Academy — a Fulton County charter school that opened in 2005. Amana offers students in kindergarten through eighth grade language classes in Arabic.

The State Coordinator of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots says the group is not officially associated or recognized by the state organization.

“We are very suspect of this flyer. No one has heard of this group and no contact information is listed,” Tea Party Spokesperson Julianne Thompson wrote in a prepared statement. “We believe it is either a group of local extremists afraid to use their own names… or it is an attempt at character assassination.”

“Either way, we strongly condemn this type of flyer, its disgusting language and intention. This group is in no way permitted to use the name of the Tea Party Patriots.”

The state Tea Party says they are focused on, “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.”

As I said in my previous post, no one with half a brain would believe the distribution of such vile material in our neighborhood could possibly help their cause. This is evidenced by the fact our residents were so disgusted  that they actually called the local TV station to report such an incident.

I hope that Alpharetta’s local authorities are able to use security camera footage from homes in this area to identify the actual perpetrators of this ridiculous stunt. If the flyer was created by someone crazy enough to believe it would help their cause the person is dangerously detached from reality and if it was done by someone so filled with rage that they would go to this extreme to smear other people as racists then they are dangerous and pathetic. Either way they need to be off the street.

Government spends millions to promote another inefficient transportation program… Yay!

There is an innovative bike sharing program in Washington D.C. which manages to be both inefficient and expensive so of course the government will now spend millions of dollars to subsidize the program.

As reported in the Washington Times article D.C. bike-sharing program crippled by own success:

This summer, the city’s innovative bike-sharing program has been crippled by its own success when it comes to commuting during rush hour, with bike racks completely empty — or just as often, completely full, making it impossible to drop off a bike.

“Are you going to take one of these?” pleads Jeff Menzer as he props up a bike next to a full station. Several other Bikeshare members already have shaken their heads at the sight of no empty slots and churned toward another station some 10 blocks away. “I was only going five blocks, and now I’ll have to make an eight-block walk.”

Only a government bureaucrat would think spending millions of dollars to support this program is a good idea. It is a perfect example of the brilliant thinking that has driven our nation to the verge of bankruptcy.

Any person in D.C. could buy their own bike for less than a hundred dollars, ride it wherever they wish for free, park it for free and have it waiting for them anytime they need it. That simple, cost effective and efficient program fosters self reliance and requires no government spending. So of course the government must take nearly 2 million dollars from taxpayers to support a system that is inefficient and expensive.

According to the article the bike club only has 15,000 members but the federal government is going to spend $1.9 million to expand the system. At that price the feds would be better off just buying every member a bike. It would be more efficient and save the taxpayers half a million dollars!

Rose colored glasses will keep me from being obese, bearded and supercilious no more

This afternoon as I walked to get my mail I noticed a leaflet of newsprint laying perchance in my driveway. As I bowed to discard the refuse I noticed a loquacious dissertation explaining the futility of my desire to avoid becoming an obese, bearded writer with a penchant for using haughty language.

For years I have tried with varying degrees of success to avoid being obese, bearded and verbally supercilious. But having read the brilliant sermon from the hallowed newsprint scattered on lawns I finally realize what I fool I have been.

Before my epiphany I believed that if I chose not to be fat I should simply stop eating. Now I see that it was rose colored glasses obstructing my vision. But now the petal hued blindfold is gone and I realize that obesity is my fate; a fate that was sealed years ago when the Department of Transportation built a road between my home and Krispy Kreme. To refrain from gorging on doughnuts when there is a road between me and Krispy Kreme is the mindset of a simpleton. Humans can’t stop eating any more than a city can stick to its zoning code.

What a naive fool I was. And just as I now realize how naive it was to avoid gluttony I also realize I was wrong to avoid growing a beard.

You see… just as I had previously hoped to avoid becoming obese… I had also hoped to remain clean shaven. I don’t want a beard. When I was a single guy living in Atlanta in 1993 I had a beard for a while and that was fine for that period of my life. But now I’m married with children and I don’t want a beard. Beards are hot and itchy and give people the impression that a man is not trustworthy.

Yet the epistle in the yard also changed my view toward growing a beard. Now I recognize how unreasonable I have been to remain clean shaven when some people would prefer I let my whiskers grow. Of course I could make it unpleasant for bearded people to be around me but that is just selfish. How dare I not accomodate others? If I moved my family to midtown would the residents not tear down a condo tower to accommodate my desire for a single family home on a cul de sac? Of course they would. So it is only fitting that I accommodate beard lovers by growing one myself. How could I have been so blind?

But I can see clearly now. The rain is gone. I can let hair follicles grow away.

The third epiphany I had while reading the circular today was that I can no longer callously choose to use plainspoken language when writing my blog posts. Within this quaint village there is a professional columnist that has written for Alpharetta’s weekly newspaper since the golden days when MARTA was SMARTA and he chooses to embellish his work with beautifully obscure words like “embracement” and “lebensraum”. How thoughtless it is of me to disdain such verbiage and make his prose seem arrogant in comparison. Thusly I will heretofore endeavor to inscribe in the most supercilious circumambages. To do otherwise would be like forcing my readers to sit through a movie filled with tawdry dialog such as, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”

Providence has seen fit to share its vast wisdom in the form of a free newspaper. For that I will always be grateful. I was blind but now I see.

From this day forward, rose colored glasses will keep me from being obese, bearded and supercilious no more!

Flying coach is for the little people

Kyle Wingfield of the AJC is fired up about Georgia politicians accepting free perks from Delta and he’s right to be disappointed. Can you imagine if Delta were the defendant in a trial and gave the judge free frequent flyer miles during pre-trial hearings? That would be absurd. So what is the difference? From the article:

The upgrades are properly understood as gifts — lobbying gifts — from a company seeking an extension of the partial exemption on sales tax for jet fuel it’s enjoyed since 2005. Delta got just that when HB 322 was passed this spring, saving the company tens of millions of dollars.

No wonder it passed: Besides Ralston, Delta contributed to Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal and House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts, who sponsored HB 322. On the Senate side, it wasn’t only Cagle and Williams but Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Ronnie Chance, a floor leader for the Deal administration.


For some reason, this story got my goat more than the typical campaign-money revelation. Maybe it’s the obviously false pretext that these gifts were election-related.

More likely, it’s the reinforcement that our elected officials believe they deserve a cushier lifestyle than their constituents. Not because they can afford it, but just because they’ve been elected.

As Bob Irvin, former House minority leader and past chairman of Common Cause Georgia, told me, “This just ought to be stopped. It feeds the entitlement mentality of people in government. And while we’re fixing the entitlement problems for the country as a whole, we ought to be fixing it for government officials and staff, too.”

Every single day there are thousands of people in Georgia volunteering their time on behalf of their community. These people volunteer in soup kitchens, teach Sunday school classes, coach baseball or softball and donate time to the local PTA just to name a few. And not a single one of them expects to get free gifts worth thousands of dollars for their service to society. Yet for some reason many of our current political “public servants” seem to think their contribution is so singularly important that they should be entitled to special privileges.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dictated that the “little people” of the United States had to use low flow toilets and cfl light bulbs while she flew around on gigantic military aicraft stocked with enough booze to supply an entire Russian village for a year. Before Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested for raping a hotel maid, the head of the International Monetary Fund was staying in $3,000 a night hotel rooms while he redistributed wealth from the United States to people all over the world.

Membership in the ruling class does have its privileges.

We wouldn’t make students use textbooks from the 1940’s…

The AJC has an article online titled “Population shifts mean big changes for schools”. It gives a good overview of how population shifts cause turmoil and frustration for families that are forced into school redistricting. As I read the article one thought kept going through my mind: Why does the public school system still tell people where their children should go based upon their street address?

Think about it. Geographic school districting has been done since before I was born, but is it really the best way to educate children? Wouldn’t it be better if families could determine which school was best for their children based on a case by case basis? Why does the school system tell a family in a horrible school system that they should attend horrible schools? Why does a family that paid a premium price to buy a home in a great school district have to accept a redistricting based on the decision of a bureaucrat 30 miles away? Why do two families across the street from each other have to send their children to different schools?

North Fulton schools will be redistricted this year and I don’t expect any change in the way that process is handled at this late stage. I also think that the Fulton County School System is trying to do the best they can under the system that is imposed on them by legislation. But it doesn’t have to be this way and I submit to you that it shouldn’t.

The way we educate our children has changed a great deal since the 1940’s. Calculators have replaced slide rules. Computers have replaced encyclopedias. The textbooks now include the Civil Rights movement and the election of our first black president. We have come a long way.

But back in the 1940’s school systems told students which school to attend based on their address and they still cling to that same method. We wouldn’t make students use textbooks from the 1940’s… why do we still use a 1940’s method to determine which school they will attend?

Social Media and Squeaky Wheels

Back in November an incident with a company left me furious and would have cost me hundreds of dollars. But thanks to my use of social media the situation was finally resolved today. Despite my frustration with the situation it was fascinating to see the way social media has given consumers the ability to fight back when they have been wronged.

It started when I realized a small problem with my television picture. After contacting the manufacturer they sent out a repairman and during the service process something went wrong. The tv no longer worked. The repair company and Samsung both refused responsibility for the broken television and that left me with a $1000 paperweight.

Ten years ago I would have had very little recourse. I could have filed a small claims suit in court or complained to the Better Business Bureau but neither of those options were likely to have resolved my problem. The company was not going to accept responsibility and I would have eventually had to swallow my frustration, buy a new tv and settle for badmouthing them to people I know. Back then companies could easily dismiss disgruntled customers because the damage was limited. Even the horror stories to friends would fade from memory after a while.

Fortunately the invention of social media has provided another option. I vented my frustration on Facebook. I vented my frustration here on my blog and then I repeatedly hammered Samsung on Twitter. Instead of griping about my experience to a few acquaintances I was blasting out the facts to people all over the world.

Within about 24 hours a Samsung employee responsible for monitoring Twitter responded to my grievance and she began to rectify the situation. It took about two months to finally get the back ordered parts and fix my television but it took less then 24 hours for social media to get the attention of a giant company that would have just blown me off a few years ago.

Businesses can’t count on getting away with that anymore though. Consider this hilarious video that was posted by a guy who got screwed over by United Airlines:

Nearly 1o million people have watched the video on youtube. It was talked about on blogs and television shows all over the world and the guy became a minor celebrity. United finally took care of his claim but how much bad publicity could they have avoided if they had just done the right thing to begin with?

The growing number of social media have exponentially raised the potential cost of a bad customer service experience to businesses. Successful companies recognize this and are adapting. I look forward to a revival of customer service as they do.

Samsung sucks and Lakes Electronics blows

I have never used this blog to complain about service from a company before but I have recently been royally screwed by Samsung Electronics and their pathetic service affiliate Lakes Electronics of Fort Lauderdale, FL so I feel like I should warn anyone else out there may consider making the mistake of buying a product from either of them or using any service they provide.

Samsung DLP televisions are defective. They are so defective that to avoid a class action lawsuit the company is offering to send out service representatives to fix televisions that are no longer under warranty. Unfortunately the service company Samsung sends out, Lakes Electronics of Fort Lauderdale, is as defective as the televisions they make.

The whole ridiculous thing started a few weeks ago when I noticed that my Samsung television had a small white dot on the screen. A couple of weeks later there were two dots and eventually there were three. Concerned that a 3 year old Samsung television that cost a $1000 dollars was going out I searched the internet and found hundreds of complaints from other people suffering the same problem. Some of the other people with defective tv’s recommended that you call Samsung because there had been so many problems that they would come out and replace the defective chips which cause the problem.

So I took the advice and called Samsung. They offered to send out someone to replace the defective chip in my television. When the service technician arrived at my home I had a fully functioning television that had a defective chip and a few white dots but worked fine otherwise. By the time the service technician left my house the TV didn’t work at all.

I called Lakes Electronics to let them know that their service technician had broken my TV and they said it would be a week before they could come back out. Despite my frustration I waited patiently for them to come repair the damage they caused. Unfortunately a week later the same service tech, Adam Shapiro, came out and told me that he would not fix it  because it now needs a new lamp and the owner of Lakes Electronics, Andy Macpherson, would not accept responsibility for the damage they had done. Let me be clear my television worked fine until Adam Shapiro of Lakes Electronics took my television apart to fix it.

I tried to explain the situation to Samsung by phone but they refused to do anything about the television they broke and I called Lakes Electronics and their service manager, Mike Bavetz, tried to tell me that it was a complete coincidence that my TV didn’t work after Adam Ahapiro worked on it. So now my television doesn’t work at all and neither Samsung nor Lakes Electronics will repair the damage they have done.

So the moral of the story is:

1) Do not buy Samsung products

2) Do not allow a Lakes Electronics repairman in your house

UPDATE 1/19/2011

Samsung and Lakes electronics did finally fix my television today. At the time I wrote the original blogpost neither company was willing to accept responsibility for the damage done to my TV but after I reamed them out here and on Twitter Samsung had a customer service representative contact me and agreed to send the repairman back out.

The repairman, Adam, did come back out and although it took more than two months to get the needed parts and fix the TV it is finally done. I hammered them when they screwed up so I want readers to know that they did eventually get it right. But the fact is that I would have been without a television had I not raised cain about the way they treated me in the first place. It didn’t have to be that way.

It’s OK to lie to the public for the common good?

Years ago the state of Georgia built GA Hwy 400 with bonds and installed a toll booth to pay off the debt obligations. The state also promised taxpayers that when the bonds were paid off the toll booth would be removed. SUCKERS!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is now reporting that we can have our toll money back when we pry it out of SRTA’s cold, dead hands. Not only that, but now that the road debt is paid off the State Road and Tollway Authority wants to double the toll to a dollar! So if you believed the state back when they said they would remove the toll, you might want to put a little ice on that.

But don’t worry, it will all be fine. Roswell Mayor Jere Wood says that it’s all right for the state to lie to his constituents because,”the tollway authority has told local officials that the additional tolls would only be used to pay for more improvements along Ga. 400.” You should go to and read the whole thing here:

So the state lied to the public… but we can believe them now when they tell us how the money will be used? Are you kidding me? I may not be too bright but once someone has lied to me I don’t generally believe them the next time. And that goes double for a government bureaucrat.

Which brings us to the reason this issue is so important. The toll on GA 400 isn’t going to kill anyone. But the lie that was told to the people of Georgia is just another nail in the coffin of the public’s trust. I am tired of being lied to and I’m not alone.

The state is now proposing another 1% sales tax on the residents of Georgia. The state says that it will go for local projects. The state says that it won’t go for MARTA. The state says that we will get another chance to decide if we want to extend the extra sales tax. 

Should we believe them? No. We can’t believe them because experience tells us that once the state gets our money they will do with it what they damn well please.

Comments? We don’t need no stinkin’ comments!

A person attempted to add a comment to my earlier post about public transportation. The comment makes some statements that I would like to address but unfortunately they also chose to be insulting. So instead of debating them at this point I will take this opportunity to explain my comment policy.

This is not a public forum. This is my forum. I do this blog because I want to and I will publish your comments if I want to.

I don’t mind good natured jabs every once in a while and I enjoy a good debate so commenters don’t have to agree with me. But let me be clear: I feel no obligation to subsidize any commenter’s rudeness and that is doubly true when I already subsidize their chosen mode of transportation to the tune of $1100 a year.